Normally following a cheat day, I am itching to recharge my body with nutrient-dense superfoods. For me, this means spinach and salmon. This could get a little boring after awhile so I try to experiment with various seasonings to keep Sunday dinner interesting.
I’ve tried to take a small tour around the globe to influence my salmon recipes. So far I’ve hit:
For this salmon dish, I was looking for a bit of Southeast Asian influence (possibly Thai, though to actually call it Thai and include my Frank’s Red Hot would be a huge stretch!) In any case, this salmon dish is packed with flavor, yet still light and refreshing. It’s also quick and easy to make and great served cold if you want to make extra to toss in a salad the next day.
¼ – ½ t hot pepper sauce (I use Frank’s Red Hot because there’s no added wheat or sugar)
In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper and coriander. Sprinkle over salmon.
In a non-stick skillet, add oil. Once pan and oil are hot, add salmon and cook over medium heat, browning the outside. This normally takes about 3 minutes on each side but may vary depending on how hot your pan gets. Do not overcook. Salmon does not need to be cooked through at this point as you will continue to cook it.
Add the garlic, lime juice and hot pepper sauce. Reduce heat. Cover and cook 3-4 minutes longer or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to overcook or your salmon will be dry.
For those who already roast their veggies, this is just a new way to spice them up. If you’re new to roasting veggies, you are in for a treat. Roasting vegetables caramelizes them, bringing out their natural sweetness, and if you roast for long enough, your vegetables will turn out crispy and crunchy. Depending on what veggies you roast, sometimes it almost feels like you’re “cheating” on your diet.
Today I roasted sweet potatoes (**Note: Sweet potatoes are not Slow Carb approved unless you’re refuelling after an intense workout and under 20% bodyfat!)
Sweet potatoes really complement the exotic spice blend in this recipe – you get a hint of salty, spicy and sweet all at once. Plus, they’re full of fiber, nutrient dense and a much slower burning carb than white potatoes.
If you’re not at that phase in your fitness, you could try these out on cheat day for a healthy and benign cheat, or do this recipe with just about any vegetables. I’d recommend trying a mix of zucchini, onions and pumpkin. Cauliflower is also fantastic roasted. I let it get nice and crispy so it’s a bit like popping some potato chips.
1 t ground coriander
1/2 t ground fennel
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried red pepper flakes
sea salt, to taste
1 lb sweet potatoes or other veggies
3 Tbs oil of your choice (I use macadamia nut oil)
Mix spices and oil in a small bowl. Set aside. I prefer to use my own freshly ground spices. It takes about 15 seconds in a “rocket” type blender or just a minute or two with a mortar and pestle. If you use this method, make sure to set aside some whole coriander seeds that don’t get blended.
Cut vegetables into wedges or large slices. Place on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with spice mix, olive oil, and salt. Don’t skimp on the salt. Toss to evenly coat and spread potatoes in one layer with space between the pieces. Before putting them in the oven, I like to toss on some whole coriander seeds.
Roast for 25-30 minutes or until tender. Flip veggies once during cooking.
This recipe for stuffed mushrooms makes an awesome main course served with stir-fried veggies or great nibbles if you’re throwing a party. The recipe is made with ground pork, which I think works best, but for those who don’t eat pork, you could make it with ground chicken or turkey as well.
The recipe was inspired by a recipe in Jane Kennedy’s “OMG! I Can Eat That?” It was intended to be an appetizer done with shiitake mushrooms, but I had quite a few portabellas on hand that were in danger of going “off”, so improvise I did. If you’re making these mushrooms as a meal where each person will have their own, I’d stick with the portabellas. If you’re looking to create “finger food” for a party, the shiitakes would be great.
6 Portabella mushrooms (or 24 shiitake mushrooms)
½ lb ground pork mince
4 green onions (or “spring onion”, in other parts of the world)
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tbs olive oil or macadamia nut oil
2 Tbs soy sauce or tamari
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
Squeeze of lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400F/200C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Prepare the mushrooms by cutting off the stems and placing them on a tray. If you’re using portabellas, you may want to scoop out the insides. I didn’t because I was feeling lazy, but you’ll notice that by leaving them in, you get some brown mushroom liquid sloshing around.
In a large bowl, combine the pork, green onions, garlic, chilli, white pepper and sea salt. Divide evenly into your mushroom cups.
Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Place each mushroom, filled-side down, in the pan and cook for a few minutes until the tops turn golden. Turn and cook on the other side for two minutes.
While the mushrooms cook, make the dipping sauce by mixing soy sauce/tamari, sesame oil, chilli and lemon juice. Set aside.
Remove the mushrooms from the pan and transfer to the baking tray. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.
The past few weeks, I’ve been drastically cutting the beans and legumes from diet. With not much weight left to lose, I didn’t feel they were serving me well anymore. This has lead me to seek out recipes that fit well with the Paleo/Primal way of eating.
One of my favorites so far is Moroccan Chicken from Mark’s Daily Apple. If you’re following Slow Carb and all its tenants, you could easily serve the dish with a side of white beans tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper and a bit of parsley, or you could toss a can of chickpeas into the casserole before cooking.
I followed Mark’s recipe pretty closely with one modification. I didn’t have the red pepper (capsicum in Australia) so I diced up a zucchini, which tasted great. The dish made great leftovers for lunch the next day as well.
1 head cauliflower
2-3 pounds of chicken
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons ginger root, finely chopped or grated
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional – the other spices will already add a bit of spiciness to the dish, so only add the cayenne if you want a really spicy dish)
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
28-ounce can of diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1/2 cup minced parsley or cilantro
2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 375.
The base of the casserole is cauliflower grated into a rice-like texture. Chop the head of cauliflower into small pieces. Push the pieces through a food processor using the grating blade. Spread the grated cauliflower out in a 9×13 rectangular baking pan.
Salt and pepper the chicken. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a deep pan over high heat. Add the chicken, browning well, about 3-5 minutes a side.
Remove the chicken from the hot pan and set aside. Turn heat down to medium and add onion, ginger, garlic and carrots. Cook until the onions are soft. Add remaining tablespoon of butter and all spices. Stir well
Add red pepper, the can of tomatoes, minced parsley or cilantro and salt. Return the chicken to the pot and simmer for 3-5 minutes.
Pour the chicken mixture over the cauliflower and mix really well, so the cauliflower is completely covered by the sauce. Slice a lemon into thin slices and lay on top of the casserole. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the tinfoil and cook for 25 minutes more.
Garnish with more fresh parsley or cilantro before serving.
This recipe is intended to be done in the blender. I prefer a magic bullet or rocket type blender, but you can also use a normal blender or whisk by hand with a wire whisk. Mayo should keep for a week when covered in the fridge. The great thing about a Rocket Blender is that you can use the same container for blending and storage – a super time-saver.
I recently came across this other recipe that calls for whey protein. What could be more perfect for Slow Carbers, right? I haven’t gotten up the nerve to try it yet, but for all you food adventurers out there, give it a go (and then let me know how it is!)
4 oz of macadamia nut oil or olive oil
1/2 tsp of white wine or red wine vinegar (I prefer red, but it’s a bit different so go with the white for a more traditional mayo.)
1/2 tsp of dry mustard powder
1 clove of garlic, crushed (less for a milder mayo.)
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Place the eggs into the blender or food processor, along with the mustard, garlic, salt and pepper and blend together.
Pour the oil into the blender in a slow, steady stream while the machine is operating, so that it is immediately whisked into the egg yolk mixture. If you can’t add the oil in a continuous stream, pour it in small batches (say ¼ cup at a time.)
Switch off the machine and taste the mayonnaise. Add the vinegar and any extra seasoning to taste and whisk together one last time.
These little bacon cups from Not Martha are absolutely adorable and look delicious. I have to confess, I haven’t made this recipe yet (we don’t have the “right” kind of bacon in Australia so I probably won’t make them until I make it back to the US.) Nonetheless, I want to share the recipe anyway knowing how hard it is to make Slow Carb Diet friendly food when you’re entertaining and want to appeal to a crowd.
Who doesn’t love bacon, right? With Easter is coming up in a few weeks, and I could even visualize popping a halved hard boiled egg inside making a cute little Easter basket.
If you do try out this recipe, please send me a comment and let me know how it is.
Thanks to Tim Ferris’ suggestion in The Four Hour Body, the standard Slow Carb Salad dressing is often Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil. Admittedly, this is a favorite of mine, but if does get boring after awhile, and I was also concerned with the sugar. 1Tbs of balsamic has 3g of carbs and 2g of sugar.
Here’s an alternatives I’ve worked into my Slow Carb salad rotation. The raw garlic and vinegar really give it a kick. If you’re not used to raw garlic, start with a little and you’ll eventually get used to it. I love it, but I suppose it can be a bit confronting, especially for those who are worried about bad breath. Don’t worry, your body adjusts when you consume it regularly, and there are tons of health benefits.
When you add spices and/or a squeeze of lemon juice to the dressing, the combinations are endless. I usually pick spices to compliment my meal.
Slow Carb Garlic Vinaigrette
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbs white vinegar
3 Tbs macadamia oil.
Throw all the ingredients in a glass jar and shake until the dressing looks creamy. Alternatively you can throw whole garlic cloves into a Rocket or Magic Bullet Blender with other ingredients and blend.
Spinach is a staple for most people on the Slow Carb Diet, but plain old spinach all the time can get a boring rather quickly. Here’s a quick little side dish I came up with to make the spinach a bit more enticing and possibly even the highlight of your meal.
Slow Carb Spinach and Bacon
1 Tbs macadamia nut oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
24 oz (about 10 cups or two 12oz bags) of raw baby spinach
1 cup chopped, diced bacon
Heat oil in a medium frying pan.
Add onions and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 more minutes.
Add bacon and continue cooking until bacon is cooked through.
Add spinach in batches, and keep adding more as the spinach cooks down. You can add as much or as little as you want.
Ketchup (or “tomato sauce” outside of the US) is a favorite condiment for most people. Unfortunately, traditional ketchup is packed with sugar – 4 grams per tablespoon. That could be enough to seriously undermine your progress on the Slow Carb Diet.
For those of you who are hopelessly addicted to ketchup on their eggs, if you take the time to make a low carb batch from scratch, you can have ketchup on the Slow Carb Diet.
Makes 1+ cup of ketchup
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
½ c water
¼ c vinegar
¼ t onion powder
1 t sea salt
1/8 t allspice
1/8 t ground cloves
1/8 t cinnamon
1/8 t garlic powder
Stevia to taste ( I used about 1Tbs but will probably use less next time)
Mix all ingredients well.
Heat if desired. No cooking is required although warming it for a bit will let the flavors meld better to get more of a “ketchup taste”.
Store in a sealed container. Keeps for at least 1 week.